My clumsy nod to a legendary girl group aside, for some time I have been struggling with my desire for a family. Setting aside any discussion about the mid-thirties, hormone-induced nature of this desire, or gender socialization, I would instead turn to recent events…
As I have stated in several posts, March is an exciting month because it means the end of weekend obligations for University B. However, this past weekend, while supporting a University B program, I ran into a colleague I had not seen for some time. After we had chatted for some time, she opened her coat to reveal a significant baby bump. While this is exciting news in general, it was made that much more exciting because this colleague is now seven months pregnant, after suffering several miscarriages, at 43. While I was beyond thrilled for her and her husband, I realized later that I was also happy…for myself.
I had just turned thirty-four at the onset of the pandemic and while that wouldn’t qualify me as a spry, young thing, I also didn’t feel old*. I didn’t feel like the things I wanted for myself, a different career, a romantic partnership, or a family were things that wouldn’t happen. Just things that hadn’t happened yet. A little more than two years later and things feel different. The pool of eligible partners seems to be shrinking at an exponential rate, as is my window for conceiving a child. I realized that my “baby love” had reached a new stage when I seriously considered whether or not I would be willing to have a child on my own. After significant consideration, I acknowledged that this did not appeal to me, however, the mere fact that I turned it over in my mind suggested that I was in a different place than I was two years ago.
My student loan debt. Much as it has touched every other aspect of my life, it has also affected my thoughts about having a family. First, I considered whether or not I would be desirable as a mate/partner/mother. My second consideration was whether or not I had the resources to support a child. My parents waited eight years after getting married to have me because they had grown up poor and wanted better for me. Who was I to disrupt this “generational progress” and have a child before I could financially afford it? And finally, should I consider freezing my eggs? Or would this just be another financially irresponsible choice made under the guise of preserving freedom?
I don’t know. Any of it.
*I understand and appreciate that “old” is a relative value, and I am very grateful for every year I get to spend on this planet. So many people have not had the fortune to live long as I have.
P.S. If you were disappointed by the only tangentially, financial nature of this post, blame Eva. 🙂